10 Questions with ... Brion O' Brion
March 15, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My radio career has taken me to St. Louis; Norfolk, VA; VA Beach; Baltimore; Greenville, SC; Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Atlantic City; Ocean City, MD; to name a few, and he's no stranger to Louisiana either ... having worked in Alexandria.
1) Have you found it difficult to work and shift from format to format?
No, I have found it pretty easy to work the different shifts and formats. I like to think that I am very versatile and able to do just about anything.
2) What formats have you worked in and what have you learned from each of them?
I have worked Urban, Urban AC, Top 40, Hot AC, Jammin' Oldies.
In Top 40, I learned how to become a MD with a guy who taught me a lot. His name was Wookie at WOCQ in Salisbury, MD. In Hot AC, I learned how to work with the PPM at KYKY in St. Louis. In Jammin' Oldies I learned how much fun it was to play the oldies from Motown, etc. ... I always had wondered how personalities felt playing the oldies in the golden days, and I had a blast doing that at WQJH in Salisbury, MD. And in Urban radio, I learned how to become a better all-around personality from some of the best co-workers anybody can have, such as Don Early-Byrd Alan, Don DC Cody, Paul Dancer, etc. ... just to name a few.
3) Who were some of the jocks you loved listening to when going up and what did they do you like about them?
I grew up listening to the Night Hawk Morris Baxter at WOWI/Norfolk. He was awesome on his night show. I used to like when he made the Hawk sound on the radio, because that was his moniker, the Night Hawk.
I also grew up listening to my mentor, Rick Party at WOWI; he replaced Morris Baxter when he left. I did not like him at first, because he had replaced my favorite night jock Morris Baxter, but after listening to him, I begin to love what he did at night on the radio. I used to love when he did his countdown show at night. I used to call and be one of his guest DJs and introduce songs on his show. This is when I knew that I wanted to be a radio personality.
4) What is it about radio that you love so much?
What do I love about radio? I love the fact that radio is not a job to me. I get to wake up every day and do what I enjoy and get paid for it too. What more can I ask for?
5) How do you see the future radio and all things audio?
Most people believe that Internet radio is going to be the future, but I still have hopes and dreams that mom-and-pop stations will make a comeback. I'd love to see radio go back to the good ol' days of single-station owners and a full staff of personalities. (Hey, I can dream, right?)
6) What prompted you to get into radio?
As a kid in high school, I would often mimic the personalities on the radio to my classmates in school. I think that this was when I first knew that I wanted to be in the radio business.
7) Your dad was on the radio, how was that?
When I was a little B.O.B. my dad was in the Air Force and we lived overseas, there I used to listen to my dad on Armed Forces Radio. It was awesome to grow up and to hear my dad on the radio.
8) Would you share some of those who have been influential in your career?
Rick Party was very influential to me. He taught me the basics of radio and help me get my first radio gig in Greenville, SC at defunct WHYZ-A radio.
9) You were an intern, what is your opinion on interns suing stations after leaving because they did unpaid internships?
When you're an intern, you should be in the building to learn and be taught. You should not be required to do "work." I say this because I started as an intern, and I was not there to get paid, I was there to gain experience and learn. The thought of getting paid never crossed my mind.
10) Do you have a favorite radio story?
My favorite radio story was when I got to live my dream and go back home to VA Beach and work on the radio in my hometown at WVKL.95-7 R&B as MD/midday personality. I had always tried to get back home and work so that all my family and friends could hear me on the radio, and when I had the chance, I jumped on it, and I loved every minute of it. Nothing like being on the radio where you grew up. I felt like a kid in a candy store. It was so much fun.
If you had not done radio, what profession would you have gone into?
I used to be a nurse before I got into radio full-time as a personality. I had two very good nursing jobs, and I gave them both up to take my first radio gig in Greenville, SC at defunct WHYZ/AM 1070. My parents were like are you nuts, because I took that radio job for 32 hours a week at $5 an hour. Plus, it was overnights from 2-6a. There have been times that I've had to fall back on my nursing career when I had been laid off from radio stations. I managed an Alzheimer's unit, also managed group homes for developmental disabled adults and children. I stopped nursing because I just became a bit burned out, and radio has always been my first love.